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Hinsdale Central boys golfers eye third straight title

The boys golf season has already teed off and teams are hoping to make the trek Oct. 17 and 18 to Bloomington and Normal for the Class 1A, 2A and 3A state tournaments. Here’s the outlook defending state champ Hinsdale Central and other area teams.

Benet Redwings

Coach: Marty Gaughan

Conference: East Suburban Catholic

Top players

Alex Bassetto, junior

George Carroll, senior

Ben Johnson, senior

Nick Schantzer, sophomore

Outlook: Former Redwings basketball coach Marty Gaughan takes over the team from Dan Nagis, who retired after 33 years at the helm, which included a fifth place team finish last fall.

Gaughan inherits a team that returns three players from the state team. Junior Alex Bassetto carded a 154 over 36 holes at the Class 3A state tournament last year, while seniors George Carroll (163) and Ben Johnson (167) also were part of the state team.

Benet, which won four invites and ESCC and regional championship last season, will be looking for more of the same against a tough schedule that includes Naperville North, Waubonsie Valley and the Hinsdale Central Red Devil Invite.

Downers Grove South Mustangs

Coach: Terry Tiesman

Conference: West Suburban Gold

Top players

Sean Burk, senior

Trent Caraher, junior

Ben Ficht, senior

Peter Hamot, senior

Jon Krupa, senior

Patrick Reeg, junior

Matt Rekstad, senior

Joe Vath, senior

Corey Vondra, junior

Justin Zuidema, junior

Outlook: Trent Caraher and Joe Vath were two of four Mustang golfers to move on from last year’s regional tournament to the sectional, and Caraher went on to the state tournament, where he carded a two-day score of 156 to finish in a tie for 31st place. Peter Hamot, Jon Krupa and Matt Rekstad are also varsity returners.

South’s tournament slate includes six dates started with Monday’s Naperville Central invite. The squad has other tough tourney tests at Addison Trail (3 p.m. today), Providence (Sept. 13) and Lemont (Oct. 4) before the postseason begins.

Hinsdale Central Red Devils

Coach: Jess Krueger

Conference: West Suburban Silver

Top players

Brian Dolehide, senior

Kenneth Li, junior

Brendan O’Reilly, sophomore

Drew Shepard, junior

Outlook: If the accomplishments of the returning players are any indication, the Red Devils have a great chance to win their third consecutive state title. The top four scorers from the team that won state by 13 strokes last fall – Brian Dolehide, Kenneth Li, Brendan O’Reilly and Drew Shepard – are all back in the fold. Li’s 142 score was good for second in the state, while O’Reilly finished tied for 11th with a 149.

Depth will come in the form of varsity newcomers such as seniors Billy Bizub and Trevor Cook and juniors Max Bartuch and Mac Freehan.

For a team with championship aspirations, a tough tournament slate during the regular season is the best way to prepare. Among the six tourneys on the schedule, the Warren Invite (today), the Batavia Invite (Sept. 6) and Central’s own tournament (Sept. 27) will be the big ones prior to the WSS tourney Sept. 30.

Hinsdale South Hornets

Coach: Bruce Kendrick

Conference: West Suburban Gold

Top players

Zach Cole, senior

Nick Haines, senior

Zach Urbancik, senior

Outlook: The Hornets were hit hard by the graduation of seven seniors from last year’s squad that was just three strokes away from qualifying for the sectional tournament. Brian Strumillo, who won the 2013 regional with a 69, was one of the players lost to graduation.

Seniors Zach Cole, Nick Haines and Zach Urbancik return to the varsity. Juniors Brett Bavcevic, Turner Chang, Pete Louise, Dawson Morform and Lane Niemann are also in the fold.

“We are an inexperienced varsity team and any one of them can step up and lead us” head coach Bruce Kendrick said.

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